Ronaldo scores a late equaliser


Atalanta Milan: Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to score a late equaliser as 10-man Juventus salvaged a 2-2 draw at Atalanta to move nine points clear of Napoli at the top of Serie A.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli missed the chance to cut the gap to the reigning champions after Inter Milan substitute Lautaro Martinez hit a stoppage-time winner in an ugly 1-0 victory at the San Siro marred by racist chants towards Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri decided to rest Ronaldo as the former Real Madrid man did not start a league game for the first time since moving to Italy, but the 33-year-old was needed to level in the 78th minute after Duvan Zapata’s double had put the hosts in front following Berat Djimsiti’s own goal. Ronaldo’s efforts keep Juventus unbeaten in Serie A, ahead of the final game before the winter break against Sampdoria on Saturday.

“It’s a shame because we still wanted to win, but the team did well,” said Allegri. Everything appeared to be going to plan for Juve when they grabbed the lead in only the second minute when Atalanta centre-back Djimsiti completely miskicked Alex Sandro’s deflected cross into his own net. But Zapata put a spanner in the Juve works with a fantastic individual goal midway through the first half, spinning centre-back Leonardo Bonucci with ease before drilling a left-footed strike into the far corner.

Douglas Costa fired wide just after the half-hour mark as the visitors looked to restore their advantage, but the Turin giants were reduced to 10 men eight minutes after half-time when Rodrigo Bentancur was shown a second yellow card for a poor tackle on Timothy Castagne.

Colombian striker Zapata wasted little time in making Bentancur pay, bundling in from almost on the goal line to put Atalanta ahead and score his ninth league goal of the season. Allegri sent on Ronaldo with 25 minutes remaining, and less than 60 seconds after Robin Gosens wasted a golden opportunity to seal the victory for Atalanta, the Portuguese star pounced to nod home from close range.